A gaggle of celebrities have teamed up to start a professional women’s soccer franchise in Los Angeles in 2022, led by Natalie Portman. The National Women’s Soccer League awarded them the rights to form a team on Tuesday, according to People. It’s currently referred to as WFC LA/Angel City. The majority-women investor ownership group includes executives, entrepreneurs, and celebrities like Uzo Aduba, America Ferrera, Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria, and Lilly Singh. Portman’s lead investors are tech venture capitalist Kara Nortman, media and gaming entrepreneur Julie Uhrman, and Alexis Ohanian, Serena Williams’s husband and co-founder of Reddit. (He also invested on behalf of his wife and daughter, Olympia, who has to be the youngest owner in sports.) A dozen former players have also invested, including FIFA World Cup champions Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach, and Lauren Cheney Holiday. The franchise itself is still in the early stages of development, per People, but it’s already partnered with LA84 Foundation, a nonprofit supporting sports programs for girls and underserved communities.
“We just started thinking about, what if there was a team in L.A.? We’re the center of entertainment in this country for media,” Portman told People. “What can we do to change the way people are paying attention to this sport? Obviously, the players themselves have been incredible and have brought so much attention, but everything hasn’t always followed their success and their popularity.” She’s, of course, referring to the way we tend to only crush on the U.S. women’s soccer team when they do stuff like crush the World Cup. “[We want to] expand those sports heroes — and those sports modeling behaviors — to have women in those positions, too,” Portman continued. “To celebrate women at the same level as the way we celebrate male athletes is culture-shifting.”